So, I am working on the new events calendar. It’s not just the Sierra de Grazalema as before but now but takes in all of the Serranía de Ronda from Algámitas across to Benaladid to Ubrique via Cortes de la Frontera and finishing up alphabetically in Zahara de la sierra.
Events right now are few and far between due to the coronavirus issue that continues to persist.
That said, things are coming alive again slowly but surely.
Bars and restaurants are opening. Places to visit and things to do. Hotels taking reservations.
The powerful fluting whistle followed by a squark of a Eurasian Golden Oriole. This can be heard in forests and lowland wooded areas near to rivers as this is their favoured habitat.
A good place to hear them in the Sierra de Grazalema is the road to Algodonales from Grazalema in the Ribera valley. especially lokk and listen where the Guadalete stream runs into the Zahara reservoir.
Considering the males bright tropical colouring they can be incredibly hard to see when perched in the trees! They meld in with the lights and shadows of the leaves and are shy and very agile with a fast acrobatic and undulating flight.
Similar to a thrush in size and form but the male has a bright yellow body with contrasting black wings and tail. There is a black mark between eye and beak (lore). There are yellow markings on the wing and the bill is reddish.
The females and juveniles are more similar in colouring to a green woodpecker with an olive green back and off-white breast with fine streaks and an overall more pale appearance.
When are they here in Grazalema?
Eurasian Golden Orioles arrive in Iberia in mid April from their wintering grounds in tropical Africa. They chase each other noisily through the trees with great agility.
As well as the beautiful song they also have a very tuneless squawk. Orioles are most visible and audible in the early mornings, becoming quieter through the heat of the day.
Their return migrational journey is mid August through to September.
Insects and berries make up their diet and they have a strong liking for figs for which they are prepared to come out of the tree canopy and warily feed close to habitation. Otherwise they choose areas of very tall trees in which to perch and their nests are also set high in a fork within the canopy.
They can be quite territorial and protective of their nesting area and the males will pursue passing predators such as sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus) from their chastising them constantly.
Hard to get images!
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Some of us are “lucky enough” to live in areas of outstanding natural beauty close to all the holiday amenities anyone could ever need. (I like the word “lucky”… Seems the “harder” I “work” the “luckier” I get!) 🙂
Looking to the future as this coronavirus thing starts to settle down I guess that anyone in the holiday/tourism industry must now see that international tourism is finished for 2020 and probably won’t get started properly again untill the end of 2021 or even as far away as 2022.
But that doesn’t mean that we all roll over and cry ourselves to sleep! No matter where you live in the world, within a hundred kilometres there must be something of Interest? I mean, If you live in Málaga or Marbella then Ronda is easily within reach for a weekend visit yes?
In my opinion its up to us small businesses, local guides, hotels and other tourist related outfits to focus our advertising efforts towards local clients. (As I have always preached!) After all, a great part of the global economy does depend on tourism and local tourism could help to get us out of this coronavirus mess we seem to have found ourselves in.
So, here we are at day 45 of quarantine lockdown in the Sierra de Grazalema, Spain. To be honest, for the family and I, it really isn’t too bad as we live in a house in the countryside 10 kilometres from Grazalema and we have about a hectare of land with vegetable gardens and plenty of space for the 3 children to play. I feel for the parents and kids stuck inside small apartments.
Grazalema so far has no cases of the dreaded virus along with other fairly isolated villages in the area such as Zahara de la Sierra, Villaluenga del Rosario and El Gastor. Ronda has had its share of suffering with over 100 registered infections and, sadly, 13 deaths but that is to be expected as the regional hospital is located here so infected people have arrived not just from the town of Ronda but, outlying villages as well. The nearby village of Ubrique has suffered with many people in an old peoples home becoming ill with the virus.
Tourism is effectively finished for the time being. Towns and villages normally bustling at this time of year are empty. The roads through the Sierra de Grazalema have hardly any vehicles on them and wildlife is quickly reclaiming its space.
I leave this post with a few pictures of the stunning views in the Sierra de Grazalema.
Grazalema is a traditional white village (pueblo blanco) located in the north-eastern area of Cadiz province. It nestles amongst the beautiful mountains of the Sierra de Grazalema and has a local population of around 2000 people inhabiting the village and surrounding countryside.
Set in a protected area popular for nature and outdoor enthusiasts the village itself is on the list of “obligatory visits” on the route of the white villages of Andalucia.
Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, The town of Ronda, Wildside Holidays and the Caminito del Rey.
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